Government announces new “Rule of Six”

The Government has announced new rules, enforceable by law, regarding social distancing measures.

The key message is based on the Rule of Six: “Don’t meet in groups of more than six, indoors or outdoors, at home or elsewhere.”

From Monday, 14 September this will replace previous guidelines which allowed two households to meet indoors and for people to socialise outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households.

The rules will change in England as follows from Monday, 14 September and apply to all ages.

  • Social gatherings of more than six people will not be allowed in law.
  • The new rule applies to people in private homes, indoors and outdoors, and places such as pubs, restaurants, cafes and public outdoor spaces.
  • People who ignore police could be fined £100 - doubling with each offence to a maximum of £3,200.

There will be a limited number of exemptions. COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together.

The Prime Minister also announced that from 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses such as pubs and restaurants to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data and keep this for 21 days. 

Local authorities will be given greater powers to close those venues that do not adhere to guidelines and fines can also be issued to venues that do not comply.

A register of newly qualified and recently retired Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) will be made available so that local authorities can recruit more quickly and fill any gaps.

Covid Secure Marshals will also be introduced to help councils support social distancing in town centres.

More details will be supplied to local councils on these new powers and support in due course.

Julia Burrows, Barnsley Director of Public Health, said: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) is on the rise again – nationally, regionally and here in Barnsley.

“We’ve been promoting this guidance now for some time in order to #KeepBarnsleyMoving and avoid the transmission of this serious virus.

“These new rules are now enforceable by law and I urge everyone to follow them – for yourselves, your family and friends, and for the wider Barnsley community.”

More information is available here

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